European Round Up is already hailing England’s 3-0 win over lowly Estonia as putting them right back in the qualification mix.

Unfortunately for England, this simply isn’t the case. Victory over point-less Estonia was a given, it had to be, and Joe Cole, Peter Crouch and Michael Owen made sure that England still have a qualification campaign to speak of. More importantly, Croatia and Russia finished level at 0-0 and this gives England more of a chance with some tough games to come. Israel’s 2-0 win over Andorra means that all four teams at the top are battling it out for qualification and England cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to qualify from what had seemed a reasonably easy group when first announced. The problems of travel were perhaps tricky but of the teams in the top four, none can put out a team that comes near England on paper, making the campaign an unmitigated disaster so far. Mclaren lives to fight another day, but this campaign doesn’t have the feel of a happy ending…..

Scotland have a far tougher group and a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands means they remain in with a chance of qualification despite France and Italy recording back to back wins in the last four days. Scotland sit a point behind Italy and three points behind leaders France but know that qualification rests on massive games against the big two still to come.

Sweden’s 5-0 win over Iceland moves them top of Northern Ireland’s league with Spain 2-0 winners over lowly Liechtenstein, lifting them into second place. Northern Ireland didn’t play but remain in a good position just two points behind the joint leaders with a game in hand over Spain. If, as expected, Fifa award the three points of Saturday’s abandoned game with Denmark to Sweden, Northern Ireland will feel hard done by as they would have profited most from a 3-3 draw with Denmark. Tough games to come but Nigel Worthington’s team are in with a fighting chance.

Wales’ hopes of qualification are virtually over after their draw with the Czech Republic on Saturday. The Republic of Ireland are still in with a chance although Germany’s narrow win over Slovakia will have disapointed the Irish fans. Thomas Hitzlsperger’s 43rd minute strike was enough to decide the game leaving Germany 8 points clear of the Czechs and 9 clear of Ireland having played a game more than both. Ireland and Czech Republic will now battle it out for second place, with the teams having drawn 1-1 earlier in the campaign.

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